Dara McVeety wants Cavan to deliver
By Cian O’Connell
Dara McVeety is completely aware that the time has arrived for Cavan to deliver at the highest level.
McVeety was part of a gifted crop during a productive burst which yielded four Ulster Under 21 titles in a row.
Hopes and expectations were high, but Cavan haven’t truly made a mark in the All Ireland Championship in recent years. That is an itch Cavan are keen to scratch, but the Breffni boys Allianz Football League Division Two form is encouraging.
Cavan, nicely stocked with emerging talent, have accumulated three points from their opening two fixtures ensuring Saturday’s clash under the Kingspan Breffni lights with Meath carries importance.
“It is good to be blooding some new players, we have had a few drop offs from last year so it was good to get a few points on the board,” McVeety says.
“I know we had 10 debutants or newcomers against Clare and me managed to get a point so it was a good start. Then to get the two points against Louth was nice to have three points on the board.
“No team in Division Two has full points after the opening games so it is going to be a massive game. Meath put in a brilliant performance at the weekend against Clare. We only managed to get a draw against Clare so we know we are going to be up against it, but hopefully it will be a good spectacle at Breffni Park and hopefully we can get a result.
“It will take a lot of hard work because in fairness they were absolutely flying Clare, but we will give it a good rattle.”
Cavan captain McVeety acknowledges the potential in the county. “There is no doubt about it, we haven't really pushed on since the Under 21 success,” McVeety admits.
“It is time to step up, push on. We learned the hard way that it is a big step up between Under 21 and senior.
“We are finding that out, but we have a good few lads from them teams. Every year you can see lads getting that bit more stronger and that bit more athletic, I suppose, so hopefully that will stand to us in the coming years to help us push on.”
Proud to lead Cavan into 2018, McVeety insists it won’t impact on his performance highlighting the other established players in Mattie McGleenan’s set-up. “It is lovely, I was delighted when I was asked, but at the same time it doesn't really change my role,” McVeety states.
“We have lost of leaders in the team, Killian (Clarke) was captain last year and all the way up to Under 21 Conor Moynagh was captain. The role hasn't changed at all, I just go for the coin toss before the game, that is the only thing that is different.”
With Scotstown Mattie McGleenan’s innovative earned plaudits and silverware with McVeety adamant about the former Tyrone forward’s coaching ability.
“Mattie is brilliant, we had a tough year last year up in Division One,” McVeety remarks. “We managed to get a few results and were even in contention to stay in Division One until the last game, but Roscommon beat us. Mattie is brilliant, he is very positive and has great ideas. Everyone is enjoying it so far.”
With so many young players involved McVeety believes Cavan are well placed to compete strongly. “Yeah, there is great enthusiasm, the young lads are putting in a serious shift,” McVeety remarks.
“The new players that are there are pushing the other lads on, they aren't waiting around looking to pick up a jersey, they are trying to drive it, to get a jersey as best as they can. There is definitely a freshness about the panel this year and there is great competitiveness in training.”
In the minor grade Cavan have contested three provincial titles, winning one, since 2011, while four in a row was completed at Under 21 between 2011 and 2014. It reflected the strides being made in Cavan according to McVeety.
“There is great work going on at underage, the development squads, Finbar O'Reilly and Andy McGovern are doing brilliant work with underage teams,” McVeety adds.
“We are reaping the benefits of that, hopefully we will continue to do so in the years to come. The minor team last year put it up to Kerry for long stages in Croke Park so it is just about keeping them boys working hard, progressing them on to senior and Under 20 level.”
Cavan’s footballing tradition is rich and the current team are anxious to pen a few more senior stories in the coming weeks and months.